• Wed, Apr 23 - 3:33 pm ET

Isn’t It Great That Lupita Nyong’o Is A Safe Choice For People‘s Most Beautiful?

Lupita Nyong'o Marie Claire interview GIFEven though everyone I’ve talked to is super excited for Lupita Nyong‘o that she was named Peoples Most Beautiful Person this year, not a lot of people were very surprised. I mean think about it — Lupita was the obvious choice. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the film that won Best Picture this year, we’ve been jizzing over her outfits ever since she first set foot on the red carpet for awards season…and oh yeah, she’s completely stunning. It was kind of a foregone conclusion that she’d win.

But can we all just take a second and recognize how great that is? Sometimes we get so caught up trying to educate on the many instances of ignorance and insensitivity and full-blown racism that we forget to rejoice in the little victories! Like the fact that we somehow casually arrived at a moment where a Mexican-Kenyan woman is considered the ‘safe’ choice for People‘s Most Beautiful award. That’s a really amazing thing when you think about it, and it’s made all the more awesome by what a non-issue it was.

And don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to make it one. Lupita was chosen because she’s a talented, successful, poised, beautiful actor, not because she’s ‘a diverse choice’, or whatever, which is honestly the best part about it.

The only reason I’m bring it up at all is because I just want to make sure we all celebrate these little milestones instead of breezing past them without taking note of the progress that’s being made. Especially when it’s coming from a magazine like People, whose sanity I so recently questioned when they named Adam Levine ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ even though he’s…not, there were many more braver choices out there, and the only person of color who’s ever won that title is Denzel Washington in 1996, seventeen years ago.

That’s still a very real issue, but it’s important for me (and for all of us) to see the big picture and really take a second to realize how far we’ve come. Hurray for Lupita! You deserve every second of your recognition!

(Image: The Gloss)

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  • Jenni

    Especially since last year they chose a fuddy duddy like Gwyneth Paltorw.

  • European girl

    I agree with everything. She is fucking gorgeous. And her skin… i would kill for that glowing skin, but in my opinion, she is not african-american. She wasn’t born in the USA and i think she doesn’t have any american heritage Why is it so difficult for you americans just call her black?

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      She lives in America now and attended an American school — it certainly wasn’t a calculated attempt to remove her African heritage, but merely to to expand that to embrace her current situation. The same way I’d call myself a New Yorker even though I wasn’t born or raised here.

      I apologize if you’re offended by it.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      But digging around for a second, I see that she identifies as Mexican-Kenyan, so I’ll adjust the post to reflect that.

      http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/03/lupita-nyongo-ended-kenya-and-mexicos-mini-feud-over-her-nationality/358766/

    • guest

      Whoa! Good to know! Never would’ve guessed Mexican.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      She was born there, which is why her name is Lupita! There’s a Kenyan tradition (which I love) of naming your child for their surroundings at the time of his or her birth!

    • guest

      Very interesting!! I think it is always so fun to hear about where celebrities come from and all the different traditions. I have recently been working with a guy who is from Kenya and he has such different experiences that are so neat to talk about. Thanks for letting us know!

      And I had the same thoughts about Lupita’s title as Most Beautiful. Great to have someone not white be an obvious pick (and not because of the need to diversify! which clearly they do need…)

      I read a very interesting and though-provoking article the other day that talked about how the attention Lupita is getting is not an indication of Hollywood changing in terms of race but how she (and other women of color) are “others” with ethnic and wild beauty. The recognition of beauty that WOC get are that they are foreign and mysterious and untamed- like some sort of wild animal.

      I don’t take this as an example of that sort of racism. I take this as a step forward and away from that.

    • Sho Pettaway

      She can identify with Mexican and Kenyan and still be Black. Why is that unclear?

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      It’s not unclear to me…European girl was objecting to the fact that I had originally labeled Lupita ‘African-American’ in the post, which I adjusted for accuracy once I learned how she identified. Whether or not she was black was never an issue.

    • Matt S

      Also, all of South American and Central America refer to the entire landmass of both the Americas as simply, “America”. That concept is a little foreign to US Americans, but many would claim that while she is Mexican-Kenyan, she is also African-American.

  • Chelsea

    When i saw her my jaw seriously dropped. She just has a glow to her especially when she smiles and my god, just gorgeous.

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  • Penelope

    She is very talented. And beautiful. And smart (people forget that part). Undoubtedly. But I think we all have had a thorough Lupita conditioning this year, so as to not be surprised by any accolades she receives. The Oscar may have inspired a gasp or two, but Hollywood/Media knows what they’re doing with this hyper-ethnic girl, who comes from relative obscurity. She’s serving a function.

    “Remember 2013-14 when we LOVED Lupita! She was MEXICAN-KENYAN. We totes don’t discriminate!” – Hollywood/Media

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Eeep. I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen.